Friday, December 27, 2019

Looking Back on Computer Science Education 2019

Christmas break for me until 6 January 2020 and with Christmas over I have some time to think. 2019 was an intere3sting year in CS education. States continue to adopt more CS in K12. Teachers are still in short supply but so to are schools looking to hire them. Schools or perhaps school administrations and school boards, are slow to roll out more CS education. It looks like more schools are offering it which is great. But they are net requiring it so while they meet to checklist of offering CS it is still not for everyone. It’s going to take a while.

AP CS Principles continues to grow in enrollment. I try to get excited about that but it’s hard. AP courses attract too small a subset of the over all population. While there is much to like about AP CS Principles I can’t help but believe we need some more interesting CS courses. Something with depth and an interesting and motivating outcome. The Create task is not that.

Every year I think that the Internet of Things will take off in CS education. The mix of bytes and atoms seems like a natural to me. That didn’t happen in 2019. Perhaps because there is no one promoting it.  I plan on retiring from the classroom in the spring. Maybe after that I will have to time to really dig into it. Who knows, maybe I’ll come up with some good project ideas.

Cloud computing grew a bit in interest in 2019. Amazon Web Services has done some great work on this. Uptake has been slow but at some point it may take off. The problem with cloud computing, and perhaps IoT, is fitting it into the curriculum. It doesn’t fit easily in either AP CS course and too many teachers are working and teaching too many preps to adopt major new topics.

Artificial Intelligence took a jump in interest that surprised me a bit. There was a huge birds of a feature on the topic at last summer’s CSTA conference. AI for K12 has its own website, mailing list, and lots of people interested. See for more on that.

What sort of Artificial Intelligence can you teach in K-12? Mostly how it is used, how to use existing AI tool and machine learning training systems. Developing real AI takes a lot of math that not many K-12 students have yet. Still, it is very important that students learn this much. The need to know what AI/ML is, how it is used, and discuss the ethnical considerations involved.

As always,the new year is full of potential. K12 CS is on a growing path that seems to have some momentum behind it.  I can’t wait to see what it brings.

1 comment:

Garth said...

Over the year I have looked at all the things you mention. They are all great directions in CS but they all require time to build materials for. CSP is the most ready to go but it does not fit my style. IoT would be major work. I have gone in the game making/Unity direction. It is fun and the kids really get into it. Admittedly it is more of a thinking and design course than a coding course but I like that aspect of CS. Next year is going to be the big year for our CS program. We either need to find a Programming 1/2 teacher or I have to take it over. If I take it over I will have to rebuild the courses to suit me.

There are so many things I want to do in my courses that I do not have the time to learn. Web site building, IoT, networks/server/group policy type stuff, more hardware troubleshooting and so on for a long list. Never boring.